Sunday, March 4, 2012

Grieving Lost Life's Events

For bereaved parents who have lost an only child or all their children, many of life's events you thought you'd experience are no longer valid. Depending on the age your child died, you could experience any or all of the following:

First days of school - If you were lucky enough to be able to be a stay-at-home mom, letting go of your child the first day of school, whether it is a day care, kindergarten or first grade can be tramatic for both the child and the parent, but it is an event that you would probably always remember since it was labeled a 'first' in that memory book of yours.

Photos - School pictures were very important to me, and I was lucky enough to get them every year and frame them on a wall of my home for a not only a great momento but also a brillant look at the change in my child over the years. I was also fortunate to have many other pictures, some of which are special, like my daughter's wedding day, but none passed that occasion.

Sporting events - Whether your child liked to participate or just watch sports, live or on TV, this would definitely bring back fond memories of happy times together and then sad they are no longer part of your life.

First dates - An awkward stage of a child's life is that first date, knowing they are growing up, wanting to protect them, but realizing you must let them go out on their own.

Driving lessons - I was always concerned about driving, but was comforted knowing she was a safe driver. I worried about the other car. She was very active and because she was so responsible, I bought her a car immediately upon getting her license and set her free after she passed all the lessons. The irony that she was killed by an irresponsible driver will always gnaw at me.

Awards - Your child probably received awards throughout his/her life and you were so proud. Remain proud in remembering those happy occasions and keep those awards to look back on.

Graduations, weddings, grandchildren, anniversaries, birthdays, vacations or holidays to celebrate as a family - These are all special, happy occasions. If you were lucky enough to experience them, keep them in a corner of your heart forever.

Dealing with missed life events is part of the grief journey. Life does go on, even if you wish it would stand still. New memories can be created, even though we will always remember our children never got a chance to experience some or all of them. The grief journey will last a lifetime. The pain will eventually recede but it will never go away completely. Moving on with your life is the key to surviving the death of a child. Give yourself permission to grieve for as long as you need in any way you need. Then find a new way to channel your grief, and your life will become very rewarding.

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